The 12 Strongest Beers in the World

The beers whose ABV can compete with hard liquor

The practice of fermentation is one of the oldest culinary traditions in recorded history, making beer one of the oldest ways to get drunk.

What started as a simple fermentation of yeast, barley, and sugar has blossomed into a global, multibillion-dollar industry with thousands of breweries and beer varieties.

Beer has relatively low alcohol content when compared with hard liquor or even wine. The average bottle of beer has somewhere between 4-11% alcohol by volume. Some varieties have ventured daringly up to 14 or 15% ABV, but that still places them far below the average 35-50% ABV of a distilled spirit.

There are, however, a small and exclusive number of beers that have reached dangerously high alcoholic heights. Below, we’ve found the strongest beer in the world for you to explore.

Brewmeister Snake Venom

Country of Origin: Scotland

ABV: 67.5%

Undoubtedly the world’s strongest beer when it debuted, Brewmeister Snake Venom has an alcohol content almost twice as high as tequila or rum! Brewmeister is a brand of beers from a Scottish brewery on the Isle of Moray, a region well known for its Scotch whiskey

Brewmeister Snake Venom uses Moray’s natural bounty in the same way its whiskey distilleries do, creating a smoked peat malt.

To achieve its extremely high alcohol content, Snake Venom undergoes numerous freezing processes wherein the brewmaster removes the ice crystals to concentrate the alcohol.

Snake Venom is thus a smoked peat malt and a crystal brew in one dangerously alcoholic bottle. It tastes more like hard liquor than beer, is a thick liquid, and lacks carbonation. 

Brewmeister Armageddon

Country of Origin: Scotland

ABV: 65%

Another product of the Scottish brewery, Brewmeister Armageddon uses the same post-fermentation freezing process, a practice known as the Eisbock technique. By freezing the liquid you can remove solid ice crystals, which means you’re removing the non-alcoholic water, thus concentrating alcohol content. 

Brewmeister Armageddon has an amber-colored hue with no foamy head because this beer is too thick to undergo carbonation. When you open a bottle, you get a strong aroma of caramel and hops. 

The palate has a strong malt flavor that is sweeter than it is bitter, with a delightful earthiness and spicy finish. Many beer drinkers have complimented the taste of Armageddon as well-balanced and a brew that’s worth drinking not just for its alcohol content, but also for its flavor palate. 

Koelschip Start the Future

Country of Origin: Netherlands

ABV: 60%

Koelschip Start the Future is the strongest beer the Netherlands-based Koelschip brewery offers. It uses the Eisbock technique to reach its alcoholic strength. The brewery is from Almere but has since closed its doors, leaving its strong beers out of production. 

Start the Future utilizes the classic beer ingredients of malt, hops, yeast, and water, reduced via freezing to create a pale yellow, viscous liquid. The smell on the nose is spicy and soapy, with notes of black pepper. 

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Many have likened the taste to a fiery white tequila, with an agave sweetness that is quickly overtaken by a harsh alcoholic taste that leaves in the burn.

BrewDog and Schorschbräu Strength in Numbers

Country of Origin: UK and Germany

ABV: 57.8%

A fitting name, Strength in Numbers is a collaboration between the British craft beer brewery BrewDog and the German brewery Schorschbrau. It debuted in 2020 and combines the German Eisbock technique with an aging process more common in whiskey production.

Brewdog uses its proprietary Belgian golden ale known as Death of Glory to undergo the Eisbock technique before aging in whiskey casks for a decade. Whisky casks are usually oak barrels that instill a distinct woody flavor to alcohol.

Strength in Numbers has a complex and tasty flavor palate with notes of dark chocolate, molasses, and raisins. However, these flavors come after a rather forceful alcoholic nose. You’ll get a warming alcoholic kick on the finish as well. 

Schorschbrau Schorschbock 57

Country of Origin: Germany

ABV: 57%

Schorschbrau is well-known in the craft beer world and Germany as producing some of the strongest beers in the world. In fact, it’s one of the brewery’s proudest achievements. While their high ABV award-winning craft beers hover within a range of 13-16%, they have created some limited edition brews with colossal alcohol content. 

Schorschbock 57 is their strongest beer to date. They only released 36 bottles, so if you get to taste this uber-strong beer, consider yourself lucky! It is an Eisbock beer with a dark amber hue that looks more appetizing than it tastes.

The nose is super malty and highly alcoholic, similar to cognac. Its palate has a whisky-like strength with a fiery mouthfeel that all but eviscerates actual flavors. The texture is thick and oily with no carbonation.

BrewDog End Of History

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 55%

different cans of brewdog beers

BrewDog draws inspiration for the names of its beers from interesting historical figures, concepts, and philosophies. End of History isn’t just the name of their second strongest beer, but also a work of philosophy from the famed philosopher Francis Fukuyama. 

At the time it debuted, End of History was so named because it was supposed to be the last ultra-alcoholic beer the brewery would produce. That proved to be false, as 10 years later, they made Strength in Numbers.

This beer is a limited edition brew with only 12 bottles released. It uses BrewDog’s blond Belgian ale that they infuse with herbs like nettles and juniper. 

Koelschip Obilix

Country of Origin: Netherlands

ABV: 45%

Another strong Eisbock from the now-defunct Koelschip Brewery, Obilix is a limited edition bottle that you’ll be lucky to see in the flesh. Its alcohol content is similar to a bottle of Bourbon or whiskey

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It has a light amber hue that would fool anyone into thinking it’s an average amber ale. However, when you pop the top, you’ll realize immediately that it is anything but average. Firstly, it is thick and not carbonated as is characteristic of Eisbocks. Secondly, the nose is a sickeningly sweet, nostril-burning burst of alcohol. 

The palate is similar to the nose, with a syrupy sweetness that almost tastes like cough syrup with an almost painful afterburn. 

Schorschbrau Schorschbock 43

Country of Origin: Germany

ABV: 43%

Schorschbrau’s second-strongest beer is actually a joy to drink! It isn’t just famous for brewing some of the strongest beers in the world, but also for its fine craftsmanship, and you can certainly appreciate it with this Schorschbock 43.

It isn’t carbonated, but you can still get a thin head when you pour a pint. The color of this brew is somewhere between dark amber and nut brown. You’ll find the nose delivers aromas of nuts, dried fruit, leather, and tobacco.

On the palate, a rich sweetness gives way to a powerful alcoholic burn. Still, this brew burns in a good way!

BrewDog Sink The Bismarck

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 41%

BrewDog released Sink the Bismarck over a decade ago, but it’s still a sought-after product for sale on the brewery’s website. It’s also the first strong brew that isn’t an Eisbock but instead is a quadruple IPA

What gives it its alcoholic content you might ask? It does use freezing methods to reduce the water content, but another key source of its strength comes from using four times the hops found in your average IPA.

Sink The Bismarck has an amber hue with a fruity, spicy, and resinous aroma that translates to a rich flavor palette of honey, bitter hops, and malt. The finish is very bitter yet smooth. 

Baladin Esprit de Noel

Country of Origin: Italy

ABV: 40%

glass of beer with a santa hat on it

For a country known for its wines and sumptuous liqueurs, Italy is also a worthy contender in the craft beer world. Baladin is a brewery in the Piedmont region, and Esprit de Noel debuted in 2011. 

It is an elegant brew that’s been aged in oak barrels, which imparts a lovely flavor palate of wood and savory chocolate notes. Esprit de Noel has a smooth and warming finish, and it’s a great beer to sip during the blustery winter holidays. After all, it is called Esprit de Noel, or “the Christmas Spirit.”

Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy

Country of Origin: Belgium

ABV: 39%

From the Belgian brewery De Struise, Damnation VI-Messy is an American Imperial Stout that has received glowing reviews from critics and beer drinkers alike. You might still be able to find it on tap at the De Struise Brewery taproom and in neighboring countries. 

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As a stout, this brew is black and thick by nature, but it’s especially dark and thick. It gets aged in oak barrels, which translates to notes of charred oak on the nose along with dark chocolate, malt, peat, and coffee.

The palate delivers a full-bodied mouthfeel with flavor notes of caramel, vanilla, fig, dark chocolate, and espresso. Plus, this is the first strong beer with carbonation!

BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 32%

BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin once reigned supreme as the strongest beer in the world when it came out in 2009. Now, it’s small potatoes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t highly alcoholic. It’s still a popular seller at BrewDog as it is a tasty brew despite its high alcohol content.

This beer has an Imperial Stout foundation that is the brewery’s only double-cask aged beer. It rests for eight months in an Isle of Arran whisky cask and then for another eight months in an Islay whisky cask.

The final aging process occurs at below-freezing temperatures a la Eisbock technique. That results in a fusion of flavors and mouth feels that reflect a marriage between whiskey and stout with hints of peat, Scotch, and caramel. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the strongest alcohol in the world?

hat is the strongest alcohol in the world?
The strongest alcohol in the world is vodka from the Polish distillery known as Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany. It contains a whopping 96% ABV or 192-proof. In the US, the highest-proof product on the market is Everclear, weighing in at 95% ABV. 

Is 100% ABV beer safe to drink?

100% ABV beer is not safe to drink. In accordance with scientific organizations, 100% ABV is a lethal percentage of alcohol that will probably kill you before getting you drunk. Studies say that a mere eight ounces of 100% ABV liquid will cause death in humans. 

Can you homebrew a strong beer?

Yes, you can homebrew strong beer. There are various ways to increase the alcohol content in your homebrew to create a strong beer. Several effective methods include:
Adding sugar
Using yeast
Including syrups or honey
Adding more malt
Introducing brew crystals
Lowering mashing temperatures
Increasing aging period
Mixing liqueur or other alcoholic liquids

Final Thoughts

There are only a handful of breweries around Europe noted for producing the strongest beer in the world. The main breweries that hold the strongest beer monopolies are out of the UK and Germany, using the Eisbock technique to concentrate astonishingly high ABV. 

Hopefully, you’ve learned a great deal about the processes, flavor profiles, and breweries involved in creating the world’s strongest beers. If you’re a daring beer drinker, you might even feel enticed to take a fiery sip! Have you tried any of the beers on this list? Or do you plan on sampling some of these potent beers? Leave a comment below and tell us!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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